Victorian police chief Simon Overland has advised Indian students in Australia to keep a low profile and “try to look as poor as you can” to avoid attacks, drawing strong condemnation from the community which called his statement “ridiculous.”

Indian students could make themselves less of a target if they do not display their expensive gadgets, Mr. Overland told an international students’ safety forum here on Saturday.

“Don’t display your iPods, valuable watch, valuable jewellery. Try to look as poor as you can,” he was quoted as saying by The Age.

Victorian Premier John Brumby defended the police chief, saying that Mr. Overland’s advice was a comment about high crime areas.

“He may have been making the point that in some areas there are higher crime rates than in others,” Mr. Brumby was quoted as saying by AAP.

Federation of Indian Student Association spokesman Gautam Gupta called the police chief’s advice “ridiculous.”

Ridiculous, says India

India termed “ridiculous” the suggestions by Mr. Overland. “This is ridiculous. No self-respecting Indian will like to be lectured in such a way,” government sources said. Every Indian in Australia had a right to freedom and a better life, they said.

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